I have been back home now for nearly two weeks. With a bit of perspective, I would like to take one last look back at my cycling adventure “by the numbers”:
1,079 – Give or take a few this is how many kilometers I road on my tour. Add another 25 km to that to account for a day trip I took to the White Temple in Chiang Rai. That works out to an average of 98.1 km per day.
11 – Days of riding. That is not counting the short day ride I took in Chiang Rai. An additional 2 days were spent on a golf course in Chiang Rai, and one true rest (and laundry) day in Nan.
10 – Number of mountain ranges crossed. On two separate days, from Chiang Muan to Nan, and Phrae to Lampang, I had to cross 2 ranges. For 3 days, from Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong to Thoen to Phayao, I rode on the mostly flat terrain of the basins.
2 – the number of times I had to get off my bike and push it up a steep section of road. Both of these were on the same day, between Phrao and Fang.
1 – the number of other touring cyclists I saw during my trip – it was a European woman I saw in Chiang Rai with a bike so laden that I am pretty sure she was riding back to Europe. I don’t count the locals pedaling their cruisers around the many small villages and farms – these were too many to count.
2 – The number of times I crashed my bike. I already wrote about the first time here. The second time was even more embarrassing than the first, but two weeks on and I can now write about it without blushing too much. I was coasting to a traffic light on the outskirts of Lamphun on my very last day of the trip. I was looking at google maps on my iPhone which was mounted on my handlebars trying to find a pleasant route through the Chiang Mai basin. I was not looking at the road. I ran smack into the rear end of an empty trailer being pulled by a motor scooter being driven by a grimy construction worker. Fortunately I was going slow enough that I didn’t fall over. Smashed up one finger bloody good (literally), with only a small scratch on a break lever, and no damage to the very sturdy trailer. A huge gash to my ego. The only person more startled than I was the driver of the scooter his look needed no translator, it cried out W.T.F.!!!, are you $#@&^ing blind?!!! I tried laugh it off which was difficult with blood dripping down my arm. I finally got to pull out my carefully equipped first aid kit, and I was back on the road again in 10 minutes. I put my phone away for the duration.
398 – Number of dead snakes seen on the road. Ok, I didn’t really count them, but there were a lot, as I discussed here.
1 – The number of live snakes I saw. A 4-5 footer curled up on the shoulder. I just missed running over it at 25 km/hour. By the time I realized that it was a snake I was far enough down the road that I didn’t bother to go back and take a picture. Now I wished I had….
0 – This is the most amazing number. This is the number of flat tires I had. I reckon this is because I was so well prepared with patch kits, tire irons, and spare tubes. I never even put air in the tires. This must be a testament to the quality of the tires that come stock on my bike, the Marin Gestalt 2.
-1 – My weight change from the day before leaving to the day after returning. Thats right, negative 1. I actually gained one pound. I would like to think it is because muscle weighs more than fat, but I now the truth: No day’s ride, no matter how long or over how many hills, can make up for the prodigious amount of food I ate and beer I drank while on this trip. I am talking 3 Thai food dishes with a plate of rice washed down with a large Singha beer, and chased by 2-3 Kit Kat and Snickers candy bars. That is just an example of one of my 3-4 daily meals. It was sure fun while it lasted; now I am struggling to eat only 20% of that amount and can still feel my paunch growing.
My cycling tour already seems like ancient history. I am back in my usual routine of pleasant retirement. But the itch is still there, this week I booked my next adventure, a 21 day trek to the base of Mount Everest. Stay tuned!
Sounds like a great trip! I have a friend going to Thailand. Please let me know if she can contact you.